Next year, 2015, is the centennial of the Gallipoli Campaign.
Many thousands of soldiers, from many countries, lost their lives but others survived;
many with the physical and emotional scars that stayed with them for the rest of their lives.
Mustafa Kemal Atatürk’s carefully chosen words encapsulates the tragedy of those terrible months and the human cost:
Those heroes that shed their blood and lost their lives … You are now lying in the soil of a friendly country. Therefore rest in peace.
There is no difference between the Johnnies and the Mehmets to us. Where they lie side by side now here in this country of ours …
You mothers, who sent their sons from faraway countries wipe away the tears.
Your sons are now lying in our bosom and are in peace after having lost their lives on this land.
They have become our sons as well.”
The importance of memories
Doğan Şahin and Jane Akatay are currently undertaking a research project into this period.
They would like to hear from anyone whose relatives fought on Turkey’s shores at that dark and complex time in world
history, which ever ‘side’ they were on, and have stories they are able to share.
A chance to learn
The families and communities of the men who fought in Gallipoli were also deeply affected by what happened to their menfolk.
Memories, photographs, diaries and letters of those involved are precious and poignant family treasures.
We hope that by sharing them, even for a short while, it can help others to better understand this tragic period of our not so distant past.
This costly war changed Turkey, and all the other countries that took part, forever.
It also profoundly impacted on the families whose relatives fought in it.
Please help us with this project
We have called our project ‘Our grandfathers’ stories’ but of course the war involved women and children too; no one was spared from its consequences, wherever they came from.
We already have much to share and are planning an exhibition for next April.
Whether you remember this war as Çanakkale or Gallipoli, if you would like to contribute in any way please contact us at this email address:
We look forward to hearing from you.